Show On The Road

Fans Discover A Special Kinship While Connecting With Fellow Fanatics Far From Home

Lodo's Bar & Grill in Denver is more than 1,500 miles from Buffalo, N.Y., but with his blue Sabres hat and white hockey jersey Daniel Gustak made it feel like the KeyBank Center was just around the corner.

Gustak, a Buffalo native, gathered with more than 100 of his fellow Sabres fans at a Buffalo Sabres Road Crew event late last season. These New Yorkers talked about their favorite hockey team, met former players and were able to find a slice of Western New York in the middle of the Mile High City.

As the Sabres staff has witnessed over the years, there are fans across the country who rock the blue and gold despite being far away from the shores of Lake Erie. This inspired the team to start these road crew events. The Sabres Road Crew has stopped in 10 NHL cities thus far. 

With each stop, the Sabres Road Crew sells merchandise, introduces fans to former players and the team's broadcasters along with a chance to win a round-trip flight to Buffalo and tickets to a future  Sabres game.

"Our staff has noticed that at many away games there were always a huge amount of Sabres fans in the stands," said Teresa Belbas, the Sabres manager of community relations. 

"We wanted to create something that made fans feel like they were still a part of the Buffalo fan base. That's how we came up with these parties-to bring a little bit of Buffalo to them."

The Sabres aren't the only team with fans who gather around the country. Fans regularly find restaurants and establishments that show their favorite team on a regular basis, such as the Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill in Phoenix. 

This Chicago-themed bar brings the Second City to the Valley of the Sun. With Chicago decorations, food and drink flown in directly from Chicago and plenty of local team jerseys at the bar, this has become a place for Blackhawks fans to gather for games.

Hundreds of fans pack Half Moon for big-time Blackhawks games. After each Chicago goal, the bar blares the Blackhawks' signature goal song, "Chelsea Dagger." 

"I think it's as much watching the game with fans from back home as it is watching the game," said Clay Moizo, restaurant co-owner said. "This place lets them feel like they're back home."

As Moizo said, having that camaraderie with fellow fans is something people crave. Fans like Daniel Gustak.

"Sports are the one thing that ties you back home," Gustak said. "If I want to feel at home, I just head to Lodo's."

 

Issue: 
2017-10

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